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Fuel cards can offer savings well beyond lower costs at the pump

Traditional methods of fuelling business vehicles see individual drivers paying for fuel on their own credit cards, or with cash, then having to fill in an expense form to reclaim that money at the end of each week or month. That means they must ensure they carry cash or remember to collect receipts for each purchase.
fuel cards offer savings well beyond lower costs at the pump says fuelgenie

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4 October 2022

FUEL card provider fuelGenie has issued a reminder of the value of fuel cards beyond immediate savings at the pump to SMEs and fleet operators facing continued pressures to reduce costs in the challenging economic climate.

Managing Director Robert Pieczka said: “Fuel cards go well beyond providing a rapid and easy way for business drivers to pay for fuel. Potentially far greater value for businesses lies in the reduced paperwork that drivers and other colleagues then must plough through and the greater control offered by fuel cards.

“Traditional methods of fuelling business vehicles see individual drivers paying for fuel on their own credit cards, or with cash, then having to fill in an expense form to reclaim that money at the end of each week or month. That means they must ensure they carry cash or remember to collect receipts for each purchase.

“That eats into the time of every individual using a company vehicle and having to purchase fuel. Furthermore, each one of those expense forms has then to be checked, approved and processed internally by another individual, and reimbursements made, while also dealing with VAT calculations, credit issues and so on.

“Where receipts are not available or have been lost, this can create additional headaches and even result in the company being unable to reclaim the VAT that has been paid out on fuel. It is also much harder for companies to track whether additional items have been purchased by the driver at the same time, such as food and drinks, which they should not be claiming for. The cost of this can be substantial but many companies may be completely unaware of it.

“Another much more concerning issue is that there is no guarantee that the fuel purchased has gone into the company vehicle at all. And all these issues will ruin any attempt by the company to understand how much fuel has been put into and used by company vehicles, overall mileage covered, how efficiently they are being driven and so on. This type of management information is vital for any company seeking to optimise fleet usage and driving behaviours, and so minimise costs in this area.”

He added: “Even in highly efficient businesses, the administration around fuel expense claims is time-consuming and there is always the potential for mistakes to be made or payments not to go through promptly. This can result in irritation and ill-will among colleagues, especially when payments can run into hundreds of pounds at a time.”

Pieczka added that this administrative burden can be radically cut at a stroke through the introduction of business fuel cards. “For drivers whose only business expense is fuel, giving them a fuel card means their days of having to reclaim expenses are over – along with the task of processing that payment by a colleague – freeing them up to focus on their core tasks. And this saving is potentially enormous when extrapolated across larger fleets with dozens or even hundreds of drivers and vehicles.

“All fuel purchased by fuel card users is then charged to a single account with the company the having to make just a single payment. And, because the fuel card can only be used for fuel – or even just diesel if that is what the company wants – the days of other unauthorised items being bought at the same time, then claimed on the same receipt, are over.

“The card also contains the vehicle’s VRN, meaning that only the vehicle assigned to that card can be fuelled, preventing any risk of a driver fuelling a personal vehicle and then charging that cost to their employer. The administrative savings from the introduction of a fuel card across an entire business or fleet are potentially enormous in terms of reduced administration time.

“And they can be extended further using technology such as mobile apps which enable drivers to find the best value fuel price wherever they happen to be. Cutting a few pence off the cost of a litre may not necessarily sound like a lot, but again when considered across multiple visits and vehicles every week, the annual savings across a business can again run into thousands of pounds, or even more.”

 

 

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Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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